The Art of Addressing Invitations

A couple weeks ago, we talked to you about the etiquette of invitations, so you now know everything about timing and who to invite and how. Then, we featured the lovely ladies from A Day In May Design in our Vendor Spotlight, as they shared their beautiful work. And earlier this week, our friends over at Wedding Paper Divas offered our readers a very special deal. So maybe you’ve just chosen your invitations, or perhaps you’re about to get them back from the printers and are ready to send those suckers out. But wait! What about addressing the envelopes? Gotta make sure you get that part right, and we’re here to show you how.

One common question we always get is, “Do we have to hand-write every single one of those addresses??” The short answer is yes, although the “rules” have become more relaxed, if you’re going to follow proper etiquette, the envelope that your invitation arrives in should be hand-addressed (plus, that’s more personal!) Brides often breathe a sigh of relief when we tell them that they don’t actually have to do it themselves. You can hire a calligrapher who will do a beautiful job making the outside of your envelope look just as lovely as what’s inside! (Michele Papineau Calligraphy graciously shared the samples in this post with us.)

You’d have to provide your calligrapher with a well-organized list of names with proper titles and full addresses.

Proper titles?? Yes, you read that right. If you’re inviting a single guest, write “and Guest” after the person’s name. Our recommendation is if you know who they will be bringing, actually write their full name, on a separate line. What do you do if guests have professional titles, like Dr.? What about when a married couple has different last names? And what if you’re inviting children? Check out these, and other, nuances here.

If you’re going to include inner envelopes and outer envelopes, here’s a good guide to help you address each appropriately.

What about the return address? Well, for this, since the address will always be the same, we say it would be fine if you gave your hand a break and used either a stamp or printed on the envelope.

And we know we already covered this in a previous post, but when you’re ready to assemble that invitation, make sure you do it right. 

For those of you that are still at the invitations step and need some help with wording, see these tips from Martha, or this wording wizard.

We understand that this part of the wedding planning process might be frustrating/tedious/perplexing/[insert lip-biting emotion here], so we’re here to answer any of your questions. Please ask away- we’re here to help! And if you’re so excited by how your invitations/envelopes came out, please do share them with us- we’d love to see!!

{All images above from Gertrude and Mabel Photography. Envelopes addressed by Michele Papineau Calligraphy.}

Vendor Spotlight: A Day In May

We love what we do, but none of it would be possible without amazing vendors. We’re truly honored to work with some of the most incredible vendors around, and we’ve been dying to tell you all about them. So we decided to do a Vendor Spotlight series, where we gush about one fabulous vendor every few weeks. Please note: We are not compensated to endorse these vendors. We just really love their work and want to share the love!


In the spirit of our recent paper post, as this month’s Vendor Spotlight, we’d love to share the beautiful work of the lovely ladies over at A Day in May. Enjoy!

What is A Day in May?
A Day in May is a graphic design studio specializing in letterpress invitations. As trained graphic designers, we bring our extensive design experience to each and every printed wedding element we create.

How did it all begin and what was your inspiration for “A Day in May”?
We (Eve Weinsheimer and Lesley Hathaway, the owners of A Day in May) met in San Francisco as graphic designers working in the corporate world. We had been hearing complaints from our friends about the quality of interesting, creative wedding invitations on the market. We immediately connected over our vision of the ideal design studio and letterpress invitation line. We took a leap of faith and started A Day in May Design. That was 11 years ago and we’ve now added a studio in New York City. A truly bi-coastal venture!

The name did not come as easily to us as the concept of the business did. We tossed around several ideas before settling on “A Day in May Design”. We started our business in the month of May 2001, and of course many of our clients have gotten married on “a day in May”, but mainly there was just something hopeful and promising about the sound of the name. And eleven years later we are happy to say that we were right. Our business has been a very fruitful endeavor. It doesn’t seem like work to us, but a wonderfully creative outlet which magically provides us with a paycheck at the end of each month.

What inspires you?
Everyday inspiration comes from all sort of outstanding cultural & interesting outlets around NYC and San Francisco. Recent trips to the Neue Museum and The Metropolitan Opera in NYC were wonderfully inspiring for Lesley, but inspiration in NYC tends to hit just riding the subway and checking out fashion on the street! Lesley and her husband, and Argentine native, also do a lot of traveling and have recently been to Madrid, Miami, Colorado and Buenos Aires. Of course, there is nothing like travel to really get the creative juices flowing.

Eve spends many of her days running around after her 3 beautiful, young daughters; Greta, Tessa and Esme. Eve is constantly inspired as she sees the world through their open, accepting and creative little eyes. Eve also loves hunting through flea markets and vintage stores and fine art is a true passion for her. She has started a wonderful art collection right in her own home and she’s always on the search for new and innovative artists who inspire her graphic design and life.

Ideally, when should a bride reach out to you?
Ideally brides should contact us about 7 or 8 weeks before they want to mail their piece, whether it be a save the date or an invitation. We ballpark design and printing at about 3 weeks each, and then the client will need to either address the envelopes themselves for give a calligrapher about 2 weeks to address the envelopes for them. Save the dates tend to go out anywhere from 1 year to 6 months before the couple’s wedding date, and invitations are typically mailed 2 months before the wedding date.

What is the general process in working with A Day In May?
A Day in May has clients all over the globe (the most recent one being in Dubai!), so if brides and grooms are not in New York City or San Francisco, they should not worry. We easily work remotely. We can either set up a meeting in one of our studios or send a package of samples out to prospective clients and then set up a conference call. Once we have nailed down the design vision, we provide the potential client with an estimate. If they would like to move forward, they email their text (of course we can help with this too), we take a 30% deposit on the overall project, and get the ball rolling! We provide the client with 3 design rounds via PDF. The final PDF is approved by the client and then sent to print. We ship directly from our print shop to the clients (or to their calligraphers), whatever the client wishes.


What are the basic stationery pieces that a bride should include in her invitations?
A basic invitation set will include a main envelope, invitation, reply card, and reply envelope. However, as weddings become more involved, it is also very common to include a “detail card” in the main invitation packet. That card would serve to highlight the weekend events, times and locations so that the guests can plan accordingly.

What other add-ons do you recommend?
We love adding an envelope liner to invitations in either a fun and fabulous color, or even one that’s the same color as the envelope, either way it gives the piece an extra special richness and weight.

Recently, we have been digitally printing a lot of vellum overlays and folders. They are a great way to pull in a full spectrum of color (digital printing is produced in 4-color so we can print any color under the sun for no additional cost) and texture to an already stunning letterpress piece.

What is the average cost of a basic stationery suite? About how much are we looking at in terms of costs for add-ons?
Our invitation suites start around $1300 for a quantity of 75 and move up from there based on the level of custom design work, add-ons such as envelope liners, maps, second ink colors, belly bands, decorative folders, weekend event cards, etc. Most of our clients spend between $2000 and $4000 with us.

What other types of pieces can be printed? (save the date, menu, program, escort card, etc)
If a client comes to us and orders “the works” that would consist of the following; save the date, wedding invitation, thank you note set, welcome to the weekend piece (waiting for guests in their hotel room), wedding programs, dinner menus, coasters, seating cards and place cards.
Of course we can create anything under the sun and have also designed and produced; cocktail napkins, bar menus, custom wine labels, olive oil labels, wedding ceremony fans, maps of the wedding location, custom wooden boxes with logos branded on the lid, individual stationery for the bride and groom, etc, etc. We love brainstorming new and exciting pieces for weddings. No project is out of the question at A Day in May, we are most assuredly up for anything.

What are your favorite types of pieces to work on?
That would definitely be a custom wedding project where the client comes to us to create several pieces with a beautiful design language that shifts and changes a bit (not the same logo stamped on each piece), but overall has a very tight and consistent look and feel.

Do you charge for consultations? Can we see examples of different styles of printing in person?
We do not charge for the initial consultation whether it be a meeting in person or a phone consultation. If the client meets us in our studio, we will show them a wide variety of our work and we are also more than happy to ship a big sampling of our work to clients who live outside of SF or NYC.

Frequently asked questions that you wish brides knew before meeting with you?
I would say the most frequently asked questions are “how much will it cost?” and “how long will it take?!” Beyond that each client really comes to us with a host of different circumstances and questions which we are more than happy to answer for them. There are no wrong questions at A Day in May.

What trends are you seeing in paper goods for 2012?
A hot palette right now is gray & pink, ranging in depth of color. For instance right now we are working with charcoals, very soft warm grays, heathery mid-range cool grays, hot pinks, deep raspberries, soft petal pinks, fuschia and deep cranberry. They work wonderfully together since it’s a great cool/hot combination.


Eve Weinsheimer & Lesley Hathaway

A Day in May Design NYC
195 Chrystie Street, Studio 809F
New York, NY 10002
TEL 917.592.2661
A Day in May Design SF
1850 Union Street, Studio 4
San Francisco, CA 94123
TEL 415.614.0005
{all images via A Day in May Design}